Struggling to get readers to your blog? Are you beginning to wonder if there is any point in sticking with blogging as no one is reading your author blog?
You’re not alone.
There are literally millions of blogs on the internet and the sad truth is that many of them are abandoned, left to die in some lonely corner of the web. Why? Because when no one reads your blog the only thing any sane blogger feels like doing is giving up.
Don’t give up yet though, because although there are many reasons why blogs can fail, they’re not usually personal. So, stick your chin up and believe in yourself. Learn the reasons why blogs fail and you can avoid the traps other bloggers fall into.
Reason #1 - You just launched your blog
It simply isn’t true that if you build it they will come. Launching a blog and sitting back to wait for readers to show up is the number one way to fail at blogging. I’m sorry to be the one to say this but… blogging can be hard work!
You have to come up with (great) topics to write about, again and again, then you must to do some actual writing; and as a writer you know, some days that just isn’t as fun or as easy as it sounds.
And then you have to go out with a sandwich board and a megaphone to shout about your great new post. Ok, maybe not literally, but certainly the social media equivalent. And if you’re even just a little bit unsure of whether your blog is any good, that self-promotion can be really uncomfortable.
If you’re going to succeed at blogging you’re going to have to get used to the idea of putting yourself out there.
If you have a brand new blog, readers won’t show up overnight, but with a little bit of work, a consistent blogging schedule and time, your author blog will soon gain traction.
Reason #2 - Your blog is all about you
You may have started your blog as a way of promoting your books, but if that’s all you ever blog about readers will get bored pretty quickly.
When thinking what to blog about you need to think about your target reader. As an author this is likely to be the same as the target reader for your books. As well as your books, what else do they like?
Consider all the topics you’re happy to blog about and all the topics your readers would be interested in and see which match up. There’s your perfect blog content right there.
Reason #3 - Your blog has an identity problem
Not only is your blog not really about you, it should be about something in particular.
If you’re putting book reviews, recipes and gardening help all on one blog you’re going to run into problems. Sure, we all have many interests, but one blog per topic helps everyone know exactly what to expect and will help your blog grow much faster.
If visitors to your blog are only interested in one of the topics you blog about and have to hunt around lots of irrelevant (to them) posts to find what they want, they will soon get bored and go elsewhere.
Choose who you want to blog for - this is your ‘target audience’ - and blog just for them.
Reason #4 - You blog inconsistently
It can be hard to find time for blogging, especially if you think no one will read your posts anyway, but if you want to gain momentum you have to just keep going. That means picking a schedule and sticking to it.
It’s no good posting an epic blog and then disappearing for two weeks. Blogging every day may be unrealistic, particularly as you don’t want to be posting waffle, so don’t over-commit.
As a minimum you should be posting at least a couple of times a month, but ideally you should work up to more.
Remember that every post counts. The more (useful) post pages you have on your blog, the more opportunities search engines will have to find you and the more reasons readers will have to come back.
Reason #5 - Your blog isn’t useful
Your author blog needs to be insanely useful if it is to have any hope of standing out from the crowd. What can you offer your readers that no one else can? For every post you should be thinking two things:
1. Who am I writing this for?
2. What will they be able to take away from this post?
Even when you’re writing about your own books you should be providing readers with more than just details of where to buy it or where it’s been reviewed.
What fact did you discover during your research that you can share? When researching a particular place as a setting for your novel, what did you learn along the way? Did you use a new writing tool, find a new website or learn something new about writing dialogue?
Reason #6 - You forget to promote your blog posts
As mentioned in Reason #1, writing your blog is only half the story, you also need to promote it. It doesn’t matter how good your post is; if no one knows it’s there, no one will read it. And no one will know it’s there unless you tell them!
Social media is your new best friend when it comes to promoting new blog posts.
You can usually change a setting somewhere to automagically share new blog posts through your social media channels, or you can do it manually. Either way, don’t only use social media to promote your own posts, that’s like entering a crowded room and shouting ‘I’m here’. Instead, spend time getting to know people in the room, join their conversations, and when you slip in a mention of your latest blog post, people will be keen to know more.
Reason #7 - You don’t make sharing easy
Which leads me on to, make it easy to share your stuff! When you tweet about your new post, hopefully you’ll get some retweets, likewise on Facebook hopefully you will get some shares.
But what about those devoted readers who take the time to visit your blog and read the full post. Is there a handy button they can click to tweet or share on Facebook? Or are you hoping they will go back to the social network and trawl through a whole bunch of posts in order to retweet or share yours?
Make sharing easy and you will get more shares. It’s that simple.
Reason #8 - You don’t encourage readers to come back
Once you have some casual readers coming to your blog you want to be sure they stick around. Writing excellent, focused posts regularly just for them will help of course, but a more sure-fire way is to get them to subscribe by email.
Once you have readers subscribed you can notify them by email each time you post a new blog and even ask them directly to share it if they like it.
After reading this you may feel even more like giving up than you did at the beginning, but you shouldn’t, because every top blogger has made these mistakes and yet their blogs didn’t fail.
Blogs die when bloggers don’t put the work in that a successful blog requires. When no one shows up to read posts many bloggers assume their blog will never take off and they give up.
But if you’re passionate about your subject and are willing to commit to fixing problem areas, you have every chance of making your author blog a huge success.
What do you think, have you found other reasons that stop people reading blogs? Let me know in the comments below.